At least 13 people were killed and dozens wounded in two bomb blasts carried out by a militant breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban. A court building in the northwest of the country was attacked hours after the same group attacked a Christian neighbourhood in the same region.
Haris Habeeb is the head of rescue services in the city of Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the blasts occurred. He told Reuters that “The bodies of lawyers, policemen and civilians were transferred from the site of the blast”. He continued by saying “First there was a small blast followed by a big blast.” Both attacks were claimed by a breakaway Pakistani Taliban faction called Jamaat-Ur-Ahrar yesterday. In a statement that he sent to Reuters, the group’s spokesman promised to carry out more attacks. He added “We appeal to civilians to remain away from law enforcement installations and these un-Islamic courts. We will target them more,” he said.
In a statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “These cowardly attacks cannot shatter our unflinching resolve in our war against terrorism.” He continued by saying that “There will be nowhere for them to hide in Pakistan. More than 20 people were killed in an attack on a government office in Mardan that took place in December and that Jamaat-Ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for”.
The security situation in Pakistan has improved over the past few years but extremist groups continue to carry out large-scale attacks.